Walmart China to open 500 new stores
US retailer Walmart is planning to launch 500 new outlets in China within five to seven years. The expansion will more than double the firm’s presence in the territory in time for China to emerge as the world’s biggest grocery market come 2023. The move comes in the face of an economic slowdown as China grapples with the US trade war and slow growth. In spite of the setback, Chinese consumers are still buying from Walmart, which experienced 6.3% year-on-year growth in the last quarter. Its global growth during the period was just 2.5%. “We will continue to collaborate with partners and policymakers in China to accelerate our expansion”, Walmart China senior VP James Ku told CNN Business.
UK: Sainsbury’s hikes price of reusable carrier bags
UK retailer Sainsbury's has announced that it has increased the price of its ‘Bag for Life’ carrier bags from 10p to 20p. The retailer aims to encourage consumers to reuse carrier bags, thereby reducing the use of plastics. Commenting on the decision to increase the price of the bags, a Sainsbury's spokesperson said: "This is part of our ongoing commitment to help reduce the amount of plastic that’s used and we continue to donate the profits to good causes. We are trialling this across our store estate to test the customer response and welcome customer feedback".
Waitrose & Partners to export to Jordan
Waitrose & Partners is to export to Jordan for the first time from 23 November. The retailer has reached an agreement with Cozmo, a chain of five supermarkets in the country's capital, Amman. Cozmo, which opened its first store in 2003, is the leading supermarket in Amman combining a variety of local and imported brands. Waitrose & Partners becomes the only UK supermarket brand to be stocked by the chain with customers able to choose from its essential Waitrose and Waitrose Duchy Organic brands, as well as its free-from range.
Croatia: Studenac signs agreement to acquire Sonik
Croatian regional supermarket chain Studenac has signed a strategic agreement to acquire 100% stakes in Zadar-based retailer, Sonik, reports suggest. Sonik operates both as a wholesaler and retailer, mainly in the county of Zadar. It has purchase agreements for fruit and vegetables from family farms and companies, to provide customers with high-quality, fresh and local produce at affordable prices. The deal is subject to approval from the Croatian Competition Agency (AZTN) and other conditions agreed between the parties.
Spain: El Corte Inglés: H1 FY 2019 results
Spain-based El Corte Inglés has announced an increased turnover of 1.3% in the first half of FY 2019. The group is divided into retail, travel, fashion, insurance, technology and a new addition of real estate. The retail division increased its turnover by 1% year-on-year to €6,036mln. The food sector increased its sales substantially in supermarkets and hospitality. The travel division increased turnover by 2.6%, El Corte Inglés said this growth was driven "by the positive development of the holiday segment and by the evolution in Latin America". The insurance sector has increased in turnover by 8.8%. The technology division has a decreased turnover of 7.1%. Separately, the group has generated a Real Estate sector with the plan of focusing on the development and management of its own portfolio.
Belgium: Albert Heijn biggest loser after Jumbo enters Rijkevorsel
The supermarket Dutch chain Jumbo recently opened in Rijkevorsel, its second on Belgian soil, can achieve a local market share of 21.5% by 2020. The newcomer would hurt Albert Heijn, Aldi and Lidl in particular, according to a forecast by analyst Shopperware. Almost 15,000 people live in the Rijkevorsel market area, with a food turnover of 48mln euros. Until a few days ago, that amount was divided among five supermarkets: Albert Heijn, Delhaize, Carrefour, Lidl and Aldi. After the opening of the new supermarket by Jumbo, that picture could look completely different, retail expert Dirk Vanderveken from Shopperware says. According to him, the biggest loser will be the current local market leader, Albert Heijn.
UK: Lidl to invest £10mln to increase hourly wages for staff
Lidl has announced it will invest over £10mln in its employees, which will be used to increase hourly wages for 19,000 staff members. The discount grocer said it would increase entry-level pay from £9 to £9.30 per hour outside of London and £10.55 to £10.75 per hour within the M25, with employees earning up to £11.70 per hour, depending on location and length of service. The new wages, which will affect more than 80% of Lidl’s British workforce, will be valid from the start of the German retailer’s new financial year in March 2020.
US: Walmart shuts down Jet's fresh grocery service in New York City
Walmart’s Jet.com will shutter its fresh grocery service in New York City that debuted just a year ago, Bloomberg reported. The service will notify shoppers of the closure and will fulfill any remaining orders that have already been placed. Jet will close down its 200,000-square-foot grocery facility in the Bronx and eliminate between 200 and 300 jobs, according to Bloomberg. The company will continue to deliver non-perishable grocery products to New York City customers. Operational difficulties have plagued the service, Bloomberg said. It launched with prices that were lower than competitors but quickly had to raise them in order to cover high delivery costs. Executives left the company, and in recent month’s Jet has struggled to keep key grocery items like fresh produce in stock.
Supermarket sales up in September: Statistics Canada
Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.1% in September to $51.6bln, weighed down by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations. The result matched the expectations of economists, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv. The overall decline came as sales in the motor vehicle and parts dealers subsector fell 1% due to a 1.9% drop at new car dealers. Sales at gasoline stations fell 2.3%, due in part to lower prices. Statistics Canada says excluding these two subsectors, retail sales rose 0.7%.
US: Northgate González Market adds new features in latest store
Northgate González Market has opened the doors to its new Riverside, California store, with the Latino grocer's commitment to serve the local community in mind. The new location includes Clinica Bienestar, a clinic where residents will be able to receive medical services. It also features a community room available for nonprofit organizations needing meeting space, as well as for in-house events such as diabetes classes, cooking classes and yoga classes. "We are excited at the Riverside community's overwhelming welcome to the grand opening of our newest store", said Miguel González, co-president of Northgate Market. "Our entrée into Riverside is a planned expansion of our grocery brand into key markets and an opportunity to offer local consumers an authentic shopping experience with customer service that will exceed everyone's expectations!"
US: Meijer pilots app to help reduce food waste
Meijer is testing Flashfood, a mobile app that helps lessen store-generated food waste by allowing shoppers to buy near-expiring products at a discount. The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based supercenter retailer said that it’s piloting the app at four stores in metropolitan Detroit: Brighton, Waterford, Commerce and Howell, Michigan. With Flashfood, customers can browse and buy foods nearing their “best by” date at up to 50% off regular prices, according to Loblaw. Items available for purchase include meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery products. Shoppers select a participating store, shop near-expired items and pay for them directly through the app.
US: Walmart to redesign produce section in bid to fend off Amazon
Walmart Inc., wary of Amazon.com Inc.’s encroachment into the grocery space, is revamping the produce department in its U.S. stores. The nation’s biggest grocer will widen aisles, make fruit and vegetable bins more visible and consolidate organic items in one spot, it said in a blog post. The renovations, dubbed “Produce 2.0”, will be in 800 Supercenters by the end of January and in about 3,000 stores, including smaller format Neighborhood Markets, by the end of next summer. The changes follow earlier improvements Walmart made to the quality and assortment of its produce, a key category for food retailers and one where Walmart’s offering has historically failed to dazzle shoppers. “We knew we were not meeting customers’ expectations for quality, so we went to work on that a few years ago”, Charles Redfield, Walmart’s Executive Vice President of U.S. Food, said in an interview. “Now that we’re comfortable with that, we’re ready to change the look and feel of the department.” Produce can make or break a grocer. It’s the most lucrative fresh product category besides meat, and shoppers buying fruits and vegetables spend 55% more on their trips, according to data tracker Nielsen. That’s increasingly important to Walmart as Amazon ventures further into perishable food, having recently eliminated the additional fee for fresh grocery delivery for its Prime members. Other rivals, like dollar stores, also offer more produce nowadays.